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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16761

Title: Canadian Cossacks: Finding Ukraine in Fifty Years of Ukrainian-Canadian Literature in English
Authors: Ledohowski, Lindy Anne
Advisor: Brown, Russell
Department: English
Keywords: ethnic
multicultural
diasporic
identity politics
transnational
nationalism
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2009
Abstract: Discourses of diaspora and transnationalism have begun to question previous traditional assumptions about the inevitability of ethnic assimilation by drawing attention to various kinds of hybrid identities, but I contend that, in contemporary Canadian literature, we cannot replace an outmoded model of eventual integration with an uncritical vision of ethnic persistence and hybridity. Much thinking about diasporic and ethnic identities suggests that, on the one hand, there are genuine marginalized identities worthy of inquiry and, on the other, there are symbolic ones undeserving of serious study. This dissertation focuses on the supposedly disingenuous or symbolic kinds of ethnic and diasporic identities, providing an analysis of Ukrainian-Canadian ethnic identity retention in a case study of second-, third-, and fourth-generation Canadians of Ukrainian descent who both read and write in English (not Ukrainian). Looking at Ukrainian-Canadian literature from 1954 to 2003, this dissertation argues: (1) ethnic identity affiliation does not necessarily dissipate with time; (2) ethnic identity in a hostland manifests itself as imagined ties to a homeland; and (3) lacking meaningful public and private recognition of ethnic group membership yields anxiety about subjectivity. I first argue that as multicultural policies drew attention to racial marginalization, Ukrainian-Canadian ethnic identity shifted from being an aspect of socio-economic disenfranchisement to becoming a hyphenated identity with links to Ukraine. I then suggest that in order to make that connection to Ukraine viable, writers attempt to locate Ukraine on the Canadian prairie as a substitute home-country. Such attempts give rise to various images Ukrainian-Canadian uneasiness and discomfort, primarily as authors struggle to account for First Nations’ prior presences on the landscape that they want to write as their own. Further, I analyze attempts to locate ethnic authenticity in post-independence Ukraine that also prove unsatisfactory for Ukrainian-Canadian subject formation. The many failed attempts to affix Ukrainian-Canadianness as a meaningful public and private identity give rise to unsettled and ghostly images that signal significant ethnic unease not to be overlooked in analyses of ethnic and diasporic identities. In these ways, this dissertation contributes to ongoing debates and discussions about the place of contemporary literary ethnicity in Canada.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16761
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of English - Doctoral theses

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